Five-Factor Test to Decide Whether You Should Negotiate Through an Agent

Answer the following five questions in deciding whether to negotiate through an agent. For further information, see Chapter 6, “Understand the Role of Agents in Negotiation,” in Negotiating for Success:

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Questions to Ask:

  1. Who is the better negotiator—you or the agent? (If the agent has better negotiating skills than you, decide whether the benefits of using the agent exceed the agent’s compensation.)

  2. Does the agent have experience with the issues that will arise in your negotiation? (If you are negotiating a professional sports contract, you probably don’t want a real estate agent to represent you.)

  3. Does the negotiation involve a technical matter that requires special expertise? (For example, if the negotiation involves complex legal issues, you should probably negotiate through an attorney.)

  4. How much time do you have for the negotiation and what are the opportunity costs if you handle it? (If you own or manage a business, your time might be better spent developing products and services for your customers.)

  5. What is your relationship with the other side? (If you are negotiating the resolution of a dispute and the relationship is hostile, it often makes sense to bring in agents who have no personal involvement and can distance themselves from the dispute.)